Dougherty Co. first responders train with new equipment, prepare for disasters

Albany Airport Disaster Drill Follow-up

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - Dougherty County first responders have new safety drills that will help get you out of a disastrous event as quickly as possible.

Dougherty crews said they’ve learned from the past storms they’ve faced.

EMS crews are doing numerous drills with some brand new equipment.

The January 2017 storms and Hurricane Michael completely changed the game when it comes to disaster preparedness in Dougherty County.

When crews get to the site of a disaster or traumatic event, they’ll begin to assess the damages and injuries there. They’ll set up color-coded flags and tarps.

  • Red for people in need of immediate care because of the severity of their injuries.
  • Yellow for medium
  • Green for minor injuries.

The goal is to get the most critical victims out of a bad situation as quickly and as orderly as possible.

“After the storms in 2017, we went back and reviewed. And we had to realize in an event, had the tornado touched down in two, three or four locations, we had to be able to set up a medical triage at each one of the sites to take care of the victims,” said EMS Director Sam Allen.

EMS had only one disaster preparedness kit and it was the same one they’d been using since 2000.

Now, because of a State Trauma Grant for $6,000, crews have four.

Allen said was proven needed by the recent natural disasters. He said the crews will have more drills to practice with the new equipment and process in the future.

One drill, with the Marine Corps Logistics Base, is scheduled for some time soon.

Dougherty County first responders are also learning how to help people in the event of an airplane crash.

The EMS crews participated in a drill at the Southwest Georgia Regional Airport.

There was a simulation of a plane crash that involved 39 victims.

Students from Turner Job Corps were dressed in bandages and fake wounds.

The EMS crews cared for them and transported them quickly and safely as they would after a real crash.

“When you’ve got multi-agencies and you’ve got personnel changes, it always brings out new ideas, better ways to improve. You know, last year we had this situation, let’s improve on this. And it allows people to make contact and talk to each other. Most important during a disaster is communication,” said Allen.

The crews took the pretend victims to Phoebe Putney Memorial Hospital and Phoebe North Emergency rooms so the staff there could practice as well.

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